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The U.S. unemployment rate is stuck just under 10%, and Congress isn't doing much to fix that.
According to forecasts by the Federal Reserve, U.S. unemployment will linger at a horrendous 9.5% at the end of the year. That's just about where unemployment stands now, at 9.7%.
So, I certainly understand why lawmakers will want to hear from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke on the issue when he testifies in front of Congress this week.
And I'm sure that some member of Congress will ask Bernanke what the Fed intends to do about unemployment. I'm betting that Bernanke won't blow his top at the question, but I sure wish he would.
A recent incident highlights the friction between airlines and larger passengers.
Americans are getting bigger, but airplane seats are not -- and that can lead to awkward moments between airlines and passengers.
The issue was thrust into the spotlight recently when director Kevin Smith was booted from a Southwest Airlines (LUV) flight when the crew decided he was too large for one seat. (Smith had booked two seats on another flight, but wanted to fly standby on a flight with just one seat available.)
The incident has ignited a new discussion about what some newspapers are calling a "collision course" for obese passengers and airlines.
The video store chain will need a home run from its kiosk strategy to stave off another brush with bankruptcy.
Video chain Blockbuster (BBI) has more lives than a cat. Over the last two years the company has had at least two brushes with bankruptcy but managed to survive.
It appears another brush with death is forthcoming, according to The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Although the company claims no intention of filing for bankruptcy, the hiring of restructuring advisers cannot be a good sign.
While shutting stores in droves, Blockbuster has pinned its hopes on mail order and rental kiosks. But can a copycat strategy akin to a knockoff straight-to-video movie right this ship?
I'm adding an old favorite brand name to my Wall Street Survivor portfolio: Arm & Hammer. Like me, you might not know the name Church & Dwight.
First let's see why it came up on my list. The stock had a price appreciation in 14 of the last 20 trading sessions and was 5 for 5 recently. It has enjoyed a 7.97% price increase in the last month. On Barchart's 13 technical indicators the stock has a buy signal on 12 of the 13 indicators. This stock has the positive and consistent price momentum I like.
We get no relief from the roadblocks this administration throws up.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Another day starts with no compromise in Washington at the helm, with the press secretary saying the president isn't backing away from the absurd Volcker Rule -- the rule that punishes the diversity that allowed Goldman (GS) and JPMorgan (JPM) to survive but would have done nothing to stop the collapse of Washington Mutual, Wachovia, Fannie (FNM) and Freddie (FRE) as well as AIG (AIG), Lehman and Bear. And, of course, the faux walk across the aisle for health care where there is no compromise of substance that anyone expects.
Why do we care? Same old reasons: Suppose you are a bank. Do you hire and expand or do you hunker down? You do the latter. Do you lend, which is what Sheila Bair bashed the banks for not doing yesterday? Yes, you lend if someone wants to borrow, but who wants to borrow if they can't figure out the health care budget for their potential employees? Have any of these people debating these issues ever started a business? I just helped start my fifth, and the big hole in the budget is what we are going to have to pay people for health care. My reaction? Don't hire until we know. And I am not assuaged by a potential tax credit. Who cares about a tax credit? We may not even make money!
When members of the CAPS investment community gather online to talk about stocks, these are among the companies dominating the discussion. But which are worth buying?
This post comes from The Motley Fool's Rich Duprey.
Whether it's the corporate lunchroom, your cubicle or the local watering hole after work, there are regular places you gather to discuss news, sports and -- if you're like us -- stocks.
Here at MSN CAPS, we gather 'round the virtual water cooler daily to rate stocks and delve into their merits as investments.
The 150,000 investors in our CAPS community -- where members give the thumbs up or thumbs down to nearly 5,400 stocks -- seek companies they think will outperform the market.
Our data indicate that newly minted five-star stocks offer some of the best investment opportunities, while the lowest-rated companies have fared worse than their peers.
News on this jewelry company provided incentives to buy.
Written by Douglas Estadt
News overnight of private equity firm Apollo Management submitting a proposal to buy a stake in jewelry company Zale (ZLC) spurred us to buy shares today in the pre-market at 2.27/ share. Here's why:
- Money from the private equity firm will keep this stock afloat, giving vendors confidence (and maybe consumers, too.)
- Apollo working with prior management might help boost Zale.
- Potential competitive bidders might well raise the share price.
- Competitors' businesses are turning around, so perhaps with some changes Zales can finally follow suit.
To learn more about ZLC, click on 'read more' to view the video.
Blockbuster will enter the narrow field next month with T-Mobile movie player, competing with mSpot.
Hoping more people will have occasion to watch big-screen hits on the tiny screen, Blockbuster has partnered with T-Mobile for an OnDemand movie download service, available on the new HTC HD2 smart phones (pictured).
The phone is due to hit stores March 24, and Blockbuster plans to offer a similar service through Motorola (MOT) smart phones by the end of the year.
- MSN Entertainment: Oscars -- 1939 vs. 2009
"It's a matter of consumer convenience. However consumers want to watch a movie is where we will position ourselves," Michelle Metzger, a spokeswoman for Blockbuster, told TheWrap.
Lawmakers weigh whether they should boost aid and widen the deficit or avoid further stimulus and risk derailing the economic recovery.
By Sung Moss, TheStreet
Job growth is on the agenda again on Capitol Hill, which will force traders to consider what a new stimulus measure would mean for the economy and the market.
Legislators on the House Financial Services Committee will question economists today on the need for additional stimulus to jump-start job creation, a day after Senate Republicans broke ranks with their party to help push a $15 billion jobs package past a filibuster. But even if the Senate bill passes, the House has already approved a measure with a tab of $154 billion. The two bills come a year after passage of the $787 billion stimulus bill, which is still winding its way through the economy and remains a source of great debate between liberals and fiscal conservatives.
The nation is left with hard choices, each with its own downside.
One Wall Street broker is rolling out a futures exchange that lets investors bet on the next blockbuster.
One investment firm is launching an electronic futures exchange that lets people make bets on box-office returns for movies, Reuters reports.
So if you loved "Avatar," and you want to profit from director James Cameron's next project, the futures exchange is the way to do it. Or at least that's the way the broker, Cantor Fitzgerald, explains it.
Here's how it works:
Evidence mounts that the recent rebound rally has ended.
After enthusiastically regaining a majority of the losses suffered in the mid-January to early February decline, stock buyers are suddenly suffering from a chilling touch of doubt and remorse. And the stock market is selling off as a result.
Perhaps the economic recovery isn't as strong as previously believed -- with consumer confidence and home prices both falling again. Maybe the government is no longer the benevolent force for good in the economy -- with profit-sapping health care legislation back on the table and interest rates on the rise as the Federal Reserve starts to tighten policy.
- Video: Tech bulls vs. bears
Whatever the reason, a number of technical indicators suggest that the recent rebound is over. I've already shifted the stance of my portfolio at Wall Street Survivor, adding short positions in stocks like Alcoa (AA), Lennar (LEN) and IAMGOLD (IAG). I'm already up 4% for the week. Below I provide a few pieces of evidence to reinforce this short-term negative outlook.
Maxwell Technologies has two businesses: ultracapacitors and high tension and microelectronic devices.
That's the result of Maxwell's fourth quarter, one in which revenue actually grew by 22.3% from the same period in the previous year. Maxwell's loss came in at 39 cents a share.
Part of the reason is that Maxwell had a large number of non-cash losses (including a big set-aside against the results of an investigation into a former sales agent in China) and gains this quarter.
Bank of America shares continue last week's gains, outpacing Citigroup, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs.
By Michael Baron, TheStreet
The stock rose 2.4% to $16.21 on Monday after a federal judge approved a $150 million settlement between the company and the Securities and Exchange Commission, stemming from its disclosure of losses and bonus payments related to the acquisition of Merrill Lynch.
That move follows a stellar performance last week, when shares jumped 10% to peek back above $16 on an intraday basis for the first time since the company reported its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 20. Monday's close above $16 was its first at that level since the same date.
Tim Horton's is moving in where the Seattle coffee icon is closing up shop.
With a statewide unemployment rate of about 15%, Michigan isn’t exactly on the hot list of growth opportunities right now. That is, unless you’re Tim Horton’s (THI) and you’re looking to beat Starbucks (SBUX) on American soil.
Why Michigan? First, Starbucks is showing signs of weakness there. Since 2008, the Seattle coffee icon has been closing underperforming locations in the Wolverine State. Seven sites were shuttered in 2009, with as many as 18 more on the way out this year. That gives THI an opportunity to step into a market where SBUX is losing momentum.
- Video: Is coffee good for you?
But this isn’t a quiet campaign with Tim Horton’s moving stealthily behind the scenes.
A fund that tracks U.S. homebuilder stocks is seeing great returns. But can it keep that momentum?
The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB) has a year-to-date return of 10.5%, according to The Wall Street Journal. It's the most successful ETF that doesn't use leverage.
But before you plow any money into ITB, consider that it's more than twice as volatile as the S&P 500 index. The housing sector that the fund focuses on is highly cyclical and sensitive to economic and credit conditions, wrote one Morningstar analyst.
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The auto parts giant beats Wall Street expectations, while continuing to expand its stores in the U.S. and Mexico.
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[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks ended modestly higher as the S&P 500 climbed 0.2%, and the Dow added 0.4% to register its 19th consecutive Tuesday of gains.
The major averages saw little change during morning action, but afternoon buying interest helped lift the indices to session highs. Most cyclical sectors (with the exception of materials and technology) finished among the leaders, but the defensively-geared health care sector settled atop the leaderboard as biotechnology outperformed. ... More
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